The Bear Specialist Group (BSG) is one of 140 Specialist Groups within the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) oversees the conservation of the 7 species of terrestrial bears (all but the polar bear, which being a marine mammal is handled by a separate Specialist Group).

This species is by far the most common bear in the world, although it occupies just 3 countries. Commonly called “the black bear” in North America, the true name is the American black bear, to distinguish it from the Asiatic black bear. These two similar-sized species are ecologically alike. They are believed to be “sister species”, originating from a common ancestor that crossed from Asia to North America.

Go to the American Black Bear Page.

The Asiatic black bear, as its name implies, is a mainly black-colored bear that lives exclusively in Asia, from Iran to the Russian Far East (although it once lived across Europe, based on fossils found there). It’s most distinguishing feature is a crescent-shaped white marking on its chest, giving it the common name “moon bear” in several countries.

Go to the Asiatic Black Bear Page.

Trusted Partners

International Union for Conservation of Nature

International Association for Bear Research & Management